Category Archives: Tenors

Kaufmann as Otello

Tweet The Royal Opera House in London presented its new production of Verdi’s Otello last June. The show’s big attraction was the first performance of the opera’s title role by Jonas Kaufmann. The BBC broadcasted the opening night performance yesterday. The recording will available on its website for a month. Kaufmann’s dark voice prompted many…


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Cielo e Mar

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ7IGnQPZPQ

Tweet Amilcare Ponchielli (1834-86) is best known for his opera La Gioconda. This work is one of opera’s guilty pleasures. It’s libretto is so embarrassingly florid that Arrigo Boito who wrote it after a play by Victor 1Hugo couldn’t bring himself to put his name to it, so he rearranged the 10 letters of his…


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Disciogliea

Tweet Puccini’s Tosca contains one of the most beautiful and famous tenor arias in opera – ‘E lucevan le stelle’ which takes place shortly after the start of the third and final act. The line given below (with a literal English translation) requires, for its full realization, an effect which is beyond the abilities of…


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Michael Spyres – Espoir

Tweet Michael Spyres’ just released CD is entitled Espoir  (Hope). A better title would be Michael Spyres Sings Gilbert Duprez. Duprez (1806-96) was the tenor who pioneered the high C from the chest. He is the forerunner of the modern tenore di forza. This recording features arias, and one duet, that were associated with the French…


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The 10 Best Tenors of the 20th century – Part 2

Tweet When I published my choices for the 10 best tenors of the 20th century I admitted that my picks were entirely subjective. Many readers had different thoughts as to who should be on such a list. I fully realized that if made up the list on another day that it would be different. So,…


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Bernardo De Muro

Tweet Last month’s Opera News contains a review of Rome’s new production of Giordano’s Andrea Chenier. Here’s its first sentence: “In the first half of the twentieth century, Andrea Chenier was one of the most frequently staged works at Rome Opera, with tenors of the caliber of De Muro, Gigli, Lauri-Volpi, and Pertile alternating in…


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Vittoria Tenors Identified

Tweet On January 2 of this year I posted 22 examples of 22 different tenors singing Vittoria! Vitoria!!  from the second act of Tosca. Their identities are below. Giuseppe Di Stefano Jonas Kaufmann Franco Corelli Luciano Pavarotti Amadeo Zambon Mario Del Monaco Beniamino Gigli Jussi Björling Renato Cioni Jose Carreras Placido Domingo Giacomo Aragall Giorgio…


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Jussi Björling – Two Early Recordings

Tweet Below are two very early recordings by the great tenor. The first was made in 1929 when Björling was 18. The second was recorded three years later. The sound is unmistakably that of Björling. There is also the ineffable sweetness of youth. That Jussi was so good so early is amazing enough, even if…


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Michael Spyres – The Great American Tenor

Tweet I first wrote about Michael Spyres six years ago. I have since wondered why he has not been engaged by the Met. The perpetually becalmed company keeps recycling tenors who are well past their expiration dates. Spyres who has continued to improve since I became aware of him has achieved a vocal technique unique…


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William Tell: Act 4 Scene 1

Tweet After an hiatus of 85 years, last fall the Met brought back Rossini’s William Tell in its original French version. Previous performances of the opera by the company were done in German! and Italian. One of the main reasons for Tell’s infrequent stagings is its demanding tenor role, Arnold. This part was first sung…


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